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by Sandy Gerrard

Protruding from a hedge bank on a north west slope overlooking the River Towy is a large standing stone. It is described by the Royal Commission who visited the site in 1913 as “A shapely monolith, standing 122 inches clear of the soil” and they note that “Its weather-worn surface suggests slight tooling.” This stone is known as Sythfaen Llwyn Du and it stands at SN 67560 24440. In common with most standing stones no evidence currently exists to support its prehistoric origin.  Archwilio acknowledges its existence but provides no descriptive details and Coflein states accurately that its date is unknown.

This has not stopped the stone being added to the Schedule of Ancient Monuments. Despite the lack of any evidence to support a prehistoric date the stone is scheduled.

Fine, it might be prehistoric and if so it would clearly be of national importance but until we have actual evidence we and they cannot be sure.  This is important because it demonstrates that the schedule contains monuments whose importance is in doubt and in turn this must throw suspicion on the validity of the Schedule as a whole. Could this in part explain why despite hundreds of cases of reported damage over the past decades that not a single prosecution has resulted?  Indeed I imagine it would be difficult to prosecute if you could not demonstrate convincingly that what had been damaged was nationally important in the first place. Cadw’s reluctance to schedule the stone alignment at Bancbryn is even more incomprehensible when one considers that it shares one more thing with much of the scheduled archaeology – there is no definitive proof of its date but it is different in that at least there is plenty of evidence to support its prehistoric pedigree – sadly the same cannot be said for many of the so called prehistoric sites already on the Schedule.

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Question: How can you tell whether this Scottish standing stone is prehistoric?  Answer: Ask someone from Cadw – a complete lack of evidence won’t be an obstacle to their deliberations.

Question: How can you tell whether this Scottish standing stone is prehistoric?
Answer: Ask someone from Cadw – a complete lack of evidence won’t be an obstacle to their deliberations.

 

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